The decision to join is a funny thing. Becuase the decision that prospective members make does not neatly marry up to the association’s benefits.
“Open the floodgates so I can receive your emails,” said no member ever. Few new members join for a research report, or a book, or for access to the site. Perhaps a few may join to go to the conference or chapter meetings. But mostly this is not why they join.
They join because their boss signed them up. Or they join because someone told them they should join. Or they join because someone they respect is a member, that person likes it, so they think they might too.
Prospective members may have the vague notion that the association is for professionals like them. They may be able to meet others, and they will probably learn something helpful.
They may even hope that because of their membership they become more competent in their job. Or it may lead to a promotion. Or maybe this is the path to the next job.
We assume, however, that members are making an educated decision to join. They must have read, understood, and remember the benefits list. They must know what they want.
But they don’t.
Very few new members know much about the association when they join. And because they know so little they have no idea what to do first.
They join, and then they wait.
The problem is we wait too. We wait for each new member to engage. But they have no idea how to engage, or what to engage in. Because they do not know what to do first, we have to show them. Not with a long list of member benefits. That is too overwhelming.
We have to try to get them interested in just one thing to start. Once they are interested, then use that benefit as a jumping off point to the next benefit and so on.
New members are not thinking, “Yay! I’m a member. Now, I can go browse the website.” Instead, they are thinking, “I just paid, now what?”
Don’t wait. Answer that question now.
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